Browse Most Popular: Previous 30 Days 90 Days 1 Year
Powerful Pulleys

Students continue to explore the story of building a pyramid, learning about the simple machine called a pulley. They learn how a pulley can be used to change the direction of applied forces and move/... ...moreStudents continue to explore the story of building a pyramid, learning about the simple machine called a pulley. They learn how a pulley can be used to change the direction of applied forces and move/lift extremely heavy objects, and the powerful mechanical advantages of using a multiplepulley system. Students perform a simple demonstration to see the mechanical advantage of using a pulley, and they identify modern day engineering applications of pulleys. In a handson activity, they see how a pulley can change the direction of a force, the difference between fixed and movable pulleys, and the mechanical advantage gained with multiple / combined pulleys. They also learn the many ways engineers use pulleys for everyday purposes. ...less 
4 (35) 
Lesson 
4728 
Designing Bridges

Students learn about the types of possible loads, how to calculate ultimate load combinations, and investigate the different sizes for the beams (girders) and columns (piers) of simple bridge design. ... ...moreStudents learn about the types of possible loads, how to calculate ultimate load combinations, and investigate the different sizes for the beams (girders) and columns (piers) of simple bridge design. Students learn the steps that engineers use to design bridges: understanding the problem, determining the potential bridge loads, calculating the highest possible load, and calculating the amount of material needed to resist the loads. ...less 
8 (68) 
Lesson 
4039 
Physics of Roller Coasters

Students explore the physics exploited by engineers in designing today's roller coasters, including potential and kinetic energy, friction and gravity. First, students learn that all true roller coast... ...moreStudents explore the physics exploited by engineers in designing today's roller coasters, including potential and kinetic energy, friction and gravity. First, students learn that all true roller coasters are completely driven by the force of gravity and that the conversion between potential and kinetic energy is essential to all roller coasters. Second, they consider the role of friction in slowing down cars in roller coasters. Finally, they examine the acceleration of roller coaster cars as they travel around the track. During the associated activity, students design, build and analyze model roller coasters they make using foam tubing and marbles (as the cars). ...less 
7 (79) 
Lesson 
3940 
Potato Power

Students use potatoes to light an LED clock (or light bulb) as they learn how a battery works in a simple circuit and how chemical energy changes to electrical energy. As they learn more about electri... ...moreStudents use potatoes to light an LED clock (or light bulb) as they learn how a battery works in a simple circuit and how chemical energy changes to electrical energy. As they learn more about electrical energy, they better understand the concepts of voltage, current and resistance. ...less 
4 (35) 
Activity 
3876 
Straw Bridges

Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a t... ...moreWorking as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a truss pattern of their own design, while meeting the design criteria and constraints. They experiment with different geometric shapes and determine how shapes affect the strength of materials. Let the competition begin! ...less 
8 (68) 
Activity 
3569 
Earthquake in the Classroom

Students learn how engineers construct buildings to withstand damage from earthquakes by building their own structures with toothpicks and marshmallows. Students test how earthquakeproof their buildings are by testing them on an earthquake simulated in a pan of JellO®. 
5 (35) 
Activity 
3533 
Engineering: Simple Machines

Simple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier. Students are introduced to the six types of simple machines — the wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, ... ...moreSimple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier. Students are introduced to the six types of simple machines — the wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, and pulley — in the context of the construction of a pyramid, gaining highlevel insights into tools that have been used since ancient times and are still in use today. In two handson activities, students begin their own pyramid design by performing materials calculations, and evaluating and selecting a construction site. The six simple machines are examined in more depth in subsequent lessons in this unit. ...less 
4 (35) 
Lesson 
3021 
What Is the Best Insulator: Air, Styrofoam, Foil or Cotton?

That heat flows from hot to cold is an unavoidable truth of life. People have put a lot of effort into stopping this natural physical behavior, however all they have been able to do is slow the proces... ...moreThat heat flows from hot to cold is an unavoidable truth of life. People have put a lot of effort into stopping this natural physical behavior, however all they have been able to do is slow the process. Student teams investigate the properties of insulators in their attempts to keep cups of water from freezing, and once frozen, to keep them from melting. ...less 
4 (35) 
Activity 
2765 
Strength of Materials

Students learn about the variety of materials used by engineers in the design and construction of modern bridges. They also find out about the material properties important to bridge construction and ... ...moreStudents learn about the variety of materials used by engineers in the design and construction of modern bridges. They also find out about the material properties important to bridge construction and consider the advantages and disadvantages of steel and concrete as common bridgebuilding materials to handle compressive and tensile forces. ...less 
8 (68) 
Lesson 
2678 
Building Roller Coasters

Students build their own smallscale model roller coasters using pipe insulation and marbles, and then analyze them using physics principles learned in the associated lesson. They examine conversions ... ...moreStudents build their own smallscale model roller coasters using pipe insulation and marbles, and then analyze them using physics principles learned in the associated lesson. They examine conversions between kinetic and potential energy and frictional effects to design roller coasters that are completely driven by gravity. A class competition using different marbles types to represent different passenger loads determines the most innovative and successful roller coasters. ...less 
7 (79) 
Activity 
2647 
